American Elephants


More Trouble at the VA, But it’s a Symptom of an Overgrown Dysfunctional Government by The Elephant's Child
April 23, 2015, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Beckley, West Virginia switched out patients’ prescribed medications with older drugs to cut costs, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced in a letter to Congress and the White House. The OSC is an independent federal agency that handles claims of whistleblower retaliation and improper personnel practices. They also found the hospital’s pharmacy and therapeutics committee was chaired by a non-physician. All violations of VA Policy and a risk to health and safety.

Many veterans are grappling with mental health issues, and switching medications may well be a big deal. W whistleblower reported on the corner-cutting.

A March report by the Veteran’s Affairs Inspector General found a Hampton VA hospital failed to flag a patient as a suicide risk, despite the patient disclosing suicidal thoughts to both emergency room doctors and the hospital’s mental health clinic. The patient was found dead shortly after of an apparent accidental overdose.

A federal investigation also is under way to determine whether the VA did enough to treat a Des Moines veteran who committed suicide after seeking treatment.

A December review by the Washington Free Beacon of thousands of errors and lapses in treatment at VA hospitals nationwide over the past few years found several similar instances where hospital staff failed to follow up on suicide concerns reported by veterans and their families, sometimes with fatal consequences.

The Washington Post, in an opinion piece asked in their headline “Why Don’t We Just Abolish the VA?

The men and women who serve in the military protect both the United States’ security and its values, including political liberty, free enterprise and individual choice.

How strange, then, that when their time in uniform ends, we thank them for their service and turn them over to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which epitomizes centralized bureaucracy.

There’s the key point — centralized bureaucracy. The article goes on to enumerate a long list of problems that have not been corrected. The author says “it’s a Soviet-style structure, minus the coherence of a one-party state”. Instead the VA answers to 535 members of Congress, after they answer to the VA, and after they answer to the state VA or regional VA or however the chain of command goes.

A hospital in a mid-sized city or even a smaller city will have a wide clientele who will know how well that institution performs, and if it’s not working, if there are big problems —they will get fixed. This is the big mistake of the hard left political class. They assume that things will be better if they are in charge, because their government will be more empathetic, more caring and more efficient — because they went to the right schools and associate with the right people and because they care. The trouble is that they care about having empathy far more than they actually care about things actually working. Socialized medicine does not work, as is clearly demonstrated by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS):

Over 9,000 people die each year needlessly thanks to the unwillingness of Britain’s political classes to embrace public-private partnerships in healthcare, a new report has found. Far from being the “envy of the world”, the report’s authors highlight the fact that the NHS lags behind many European models in terms of outcomes, and that Britain is far from being the only country to provide universal access to healthcare. (emphasis added)

When the Left’s political class wants to take over and nationalize something like health care, we must fight back. They really only want power and to feel good about making you dependent. on them. They want you to keep them in power for fear of losing the “good stuff” they believe they are giving you. If you are paying attention, you will see that they can’t even fix what’s wrong — even after it has been clearly pointed out to them.

Smaller government that does not try to do so much. That’s why we have a Constitution that the Left despises. Hillary has already volunteered that she wants to get rid of the First Amendment. Fewer bureaucracies doing busywork. Fewer unnecessary regulations, or is it really imperative that every pizza parlor prominently display the caloric content of each pizza ingredient?



Obamacare Preview #247: by American Elephant

British hospital put dying elderly woman in storage cupboard overnight “for being too noisy.”

Nurses put a dying woman in a hospital storage cupboard overnight because they said she was being too noisy.

Dora Duggan, 81, who was terminally ill and suffering from dementia, was moved from her ward to a  room which was full of boxes and was being used for storage at the time.

…Mrs Young, 46, a civil servant, said: ‘They treated her like an animal and shut her in a room that wasn’t even sterile.

…Mrs Young also said that her mother had been begging to go home and that doctors had refused to discharge her even though she had just a few days left.

But when a member of staff at the hospital discovered that Miss Duggan had traces of MRSA, the hospital allowed the family to take her home with half-an-hour, according to Mrs Young.

Mrs Young added: ‘She had a big graze on her arm and they couldn’t explain why. We went in one day and she had juice over her glasses and all over her. [more]

Yet another example of grossly inhumane and intolerably substandard treatment from the very same socialist healthcare system that Democrats point to as their ideal system. An elderly woman with dementia left dying in a broom closet in a wheelchair overnight and sent home with drug-resistant MRSA that she didn’t have when she checked in.

It brings to mind the government-run mental institutions right here in the United States that finally had to be shut down because the standard of care was neglect and cruelty. But Democrats don’t care about the level of treatment — if they did, they would not have exempted themselves from Obamacare as they did — they care only that government — and thus they — as the party always willing to give out more “free” goodies with other people’s money — will be in control of it.

Addendum: Keep in mind, this is the same British system that had been paying millions of pounds a year to silence whistle-blowers, and which the Tory government is now feverishly trying to save from bankrupting that nation by re-privatizing it as fast as they can.



Dear Barack Obama…. by The Elephant's Child

I received a letter from Barack Obama yesterday. I was interested because it was the first ‘personal’ communication I have had from Barack. He said that “together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. Yes we can…”

Well, O.K. Can what? “A chorus of millions calling for change.” Change what? He says: “I’ll be a President who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable and available for every single American.” His Messiahness surely has great confidence in his own ability to fix everything. Unfortunately his record does not indicate that he can do any such thing.

Obama has made it clear that he is in favor of single-payer health care, not something that any Republicans have proposed. Republicans look at the history of countries like us who have instituted socialized medicine, (for that is what single-payer is) and really don’t think that is the way to go.

Have you ever heard of Claude Castonguay? In the 1960s Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health care reform and recommended that his own province of Quebec adopt government-administered health care covering all citizens through tax levies. The government followed his advice, and soon his ideas were implemented coast to coast.

Forty years later, Castonguay was again in charge of a committee reviewing Quebec health care. The committee concluded that the system is in crisis. “We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” he said.

Now he recommends a drastic overhaul. They propose to give a greater role to the private sector so that the people can exercise freedom of choice. Oh.

Investors Business Daily tells about “Sylvia de Vires, an Ontario woman afflicted with a 13-inch, fluid-filled tumor weighing 40 pounds who was unable to get timely care in Canada. She crossed the American border to Pontiac, Michigan, where a surgeon removed the tumor, estimating that she could not have lived longer than a few weeks more.”

“The Canadian government pays for U.S. medical care in some circumstances, but it declined to do so in de Vires’ case for a bureaucratically perfect, but inhumane, reason; she hadn’t properly filled out a form.” This is not unusual. In Norwalk, Ontario, people participate in lotteries to win appointments with the local family doctor. Oh.

In Britain, the Labour government vilifies anyone who suggests a different system of health care. A woman who was dying of cancer was denied NHS treatment in her final months — because she had paid privately for a drug which offered her the chance of living longer, but which NHS refused to provide. When she used her own money, NHS refused all treatment including chemotherapy.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has ordered the NHS trusts to refuse to allow patients to pay for additional medicines. This was to stop a ‘two-tier’ service where people who were receiving top quality drugs were being treated in the same wards with those getting only standard NHS medicines.

The Ministry of Health declared that British patients should be treated in the ER within four hours. As a result, in some hospitals seriously ill patients were kept in parked ambulances for hours to avoid disobeying the regulation.

In Texas, Republican Governor Rick Perry has pushed through tort reform that lowers liability insurance for doctors. The result? Doctors are flocking to Texas. In Florida, Republican Governor Crist has opened the state to insurance companies from all over the country. The result? The cost of health insurance is dropping significantly.

Obama said that he “doesn’t want to wake up four years from now and find out that millions of Americans still lack health care because we couldn’t take on the insurance industry.” The Insurance industry? Health care is expensive because of the insurance industry? How about MRIs or CAT scans? How about all the miraculous new drugs and new treatments that are saving lives? Today you decide what treatment you want. You would rather leave that decision to a bunch of bureaucrats? Health care is expensive now because of government interference in the market, not because the insurance industry is evil.

Obama revisited his usual canard about George W. Bush’s “failed policies on the war in Iraq”, apparently still unaware that Iraq is turning into a real success, since he has neither visited Iraq nor talked to the Generals in charge.

He says “if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them on head on.” Obama apparently does not recall that dreadful day of 9/11, or else he just believes, in spite of vast evidence to to the contrary, that the attack on the twin towers was a one-off event. George W. Bush has done a pretty remarkable job of protecting us over the past seven years, in spite of a number of unsuccessful attempts. The danger is real, and attempting to smear the President for recognizing that fact is, at best, crass. Obama seems to be more interested in whether or not other nations like us. And the swift-boat veterans, by the way, decisively proved that John Kerry was a liar.

Obama has proved his naÏve view of events by claiming that his opposition to the War in Iraq when he was a back-bencher in the Illinois state legislature was either wise or something to brag about.

He tries to blame the Bush tax cuts which have fostered an 8 year economic boom with the usual “tax-cuts for the wealthy” misrepresentation. And of course, brags that he will end them. Oh dear. Robert Mundell, Nobel Prize winning economist has some advice for Obama.

Obama’s letter goes on for 6 pages, but hasn’t really much to say except for flowery statements of hope and change. He offers hope, undefined, except that we are supposed to hope for change, which is defined as reaching back into the past for Democrat ideas that didn’t work.

After the six pages, we get to the meat of the missive: the asking for money part. “Dear Barack, I agree! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…we are the change we seek. You can count on me to support…”

Well, no, sorry, you can’t.




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